Dysmetria is one of many MS symptoms that may plague your erratic journey with this autoimmune disease. It was not until I was researching an associated condition that I discovered it had a name. I had been referring to it only as a lack of spatial awareness.
Sometimes described as the inability to judge distance and scale, a description I find misleading as such a description implies ocular problems rather than the positional judgement that is dysmetria.
However, dysmetria is a symptom that refers to an impairment of the patient’s ability to control voluntary movement. While it can be caused by several disorders, it is typically associated with cerebellar ataxia. The cerebellum is a part of the brain’s anatomy. It functions as a reactive agent that controls basic motor skills like balance and coordination. The condition of dysmetria is usually difficult to diagnose since it shares symptoms with other neurologic disorders.
Dysmetria (Lack of Spatial Awareness)
The word dysmetria is Greek in origin and means “difficult to measure”.
How often when you see your GP, neurologist or MS nurse do they raise a finger in front of you and ask you to touch it with your forefinger and then touch your nose, several times. They are testing for dysmetria, your ability to sense both the position of your target and your forefinger. As far as I can ascertain, the full name of the condition is saccadic dysmetria.
In dysmetria, damage to the proprioceptive nerves prevents your brain from receiving positional feedback so that you cannot accurately judge the position of your forefinger. The cerebellum is the area of the brain responsible for this hand-eye coordination. While there may be damage in the cerebellum it is more likely lesions in the peripheral sensory nerves are depriving the brain of the necessary feedback.
You can also develop ocular or saccadic dysmetria, which occurs when you’re having trouble focusing your eyes. For example, if you try to switch your focus from one point to another, you would be unable to move your eyes in one solid motion. Instead, you may look too far away from the point or not look close enough to the point.Healthline
However, this lack of positional precision is often referred to as overshooting or undershooting the target. I have many times knocked over coffee cups when I attempt to pick them up as they are not where I thought they were. Fortunately, I have yet to scald myself.
Types of Dysmetria
- hypometria undershooting the target
- hypermetria overshooting the target
I have seen it defined as:
An inability or impaired ability to accurately control the range of movement in muscular acts.Anon
Frequently I lift the kettle and if it is lighter than expected, or catches on the base unit, it jumps up and bangs into the kitchen cupboard above. Duh!
Treatments for Dysmetria
I, personally, do not take any medication to try to alleviate this symptom. It is an embarrassment and a nuisance. But, it is nothing, in my opinion, that would warrant pharmaceutical intervention.
But, what I do continue to do, is try and improve my understanding of the autoimmune disease. An uphill struggle for one plagued with brain fog. However, thanks to the valuable insights provided by Dr Wahls, I now have a deeper understanding of this chronic condition and the vital role of our mitochondria.